A Very Special Junk-Shop Gift Guide

by Libby Alexander

Stop it with the big-box stores, you guys. Here’s a shopping tip: your local junk shops and thrift stores have thousands of gifts that your loved ones don’t even know they didn’t want. For example, the junk shop where I work has it all for every special person in your life, including this Gumby arrangement — a good option for your beach bum friend who also likes leafless plastic plants.

Can’t afford to get grandma into the pears of the month club? Here’s a dirty candle that’s shaped like a pear but doesn’t smell like one.

All the right pins in all the right places. For ages 6 months to 2 years.

Holiday time is the right time for learning about 500 superstitions. Ex: “Lettuce, Eaten in large quantities at Roman banquets because it was supposed to prevent drunkenness and at wedding celebrations because it was believed to be an aphrodisiac… love potions… medieval…” Okay. This is why lettuce was the keystone of What Is a Wife. [Ed. — But wait, this is an amazing present?!]

(Also: “Hairpin, Because of its association with hair, the humble hairpin is not without magical significance. Finding a hairpin promises making a new friend; losing one is more ominous, suggesting that an enemy is close at hand. If a hairpin works its way loose in the hair this is taken as an indication that someone has that person in their thoughts — though in Germany this may signify the end of a love affair.”)

Does your mom like fun? Get her a mouse poop magnet, and throw in a bagel one with yarn hair.

For your truest of the true.

The sticker bottle!

Wait! No wait. This one.

… Or, a voodoo doll.

Ugh the lid doesn’t open! But maybe still okay for the jokester in your circle?

Not quite gravy-watch-level. But good for the Beyoncé in your life.

Previously: Yearbook Poetry.

Libby Alexander also runs a pop-up flea market in Chicago.